Review: Oakley Radar EV Path Prizm Trail

The Oakley Radar range has been hugely popular amongst cyclists since their launch over a decade ago. The Radar EV launched in 2015 is a modern take on these classic sunglasses.

I’ve had the Radar EV on test for just over a year. My pair features a polished black frame with a Path Prizm Trail lens which has a grapefruit base colour.

 

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What’s new?


The EV in Radar EV stands for extended vision and marks the greatest departure from previous Radar models. The lens is 5 mm taller with a flat brow rather than the dip above the nose bridge seen on the older Radar design. The vents along the brow are more subtle, placed further apart with sharper angles compared to the previous droplet shape. These changes seek to improve the upper field of view of the wearer, an important consideration for cyclists bending the neck and looking upward down the road or trail.

 

On the trail


Weighing 29 grams (Oakley claim that an unworn, clean pair will weight 28 grams), the Radar EV demands no effort to wear. The contact points are comfortable with both the ear socks and nose piece causing no irritation or pressure points. The sunglasses proved to be very secure only ever coming unstuck during involuntary dismounts.

 

The arms are rather long compared to other Oakley sunglasses. I have spoken to other riders that report them interfering with their helmet. Although I did not experience this problem, it may be worth trying a pair on with your preferred helmet.

 


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Over the year of testing, I have been impressed with the durability of the Radar EV. I’m rather rough on gear and the sunglasses never saw the love of a protective case or cloth but despite that, they show little sign of neglect or lens scratches (touch wood). I am most impressed with the Unobtainium ear socks on the arms. It is often the softer materials that perish first but in the case of the Radar EV they’re still looking brand new.

 

The new smaller vents in the lens and the relocated arm port behind the hinge performed admirably with no moisture build up on the lens while riding. In cold conditions, there was some fogging when stationary but this quickly cleared once moving again. The nose piece and brow frame ensure that the lens does not come into contact with sweaty face, something that bugged me with Oakley’s frameless EVZero.

 


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The range of vision is very good on the Radar EV. The 138 mm wide lens creates a completely unobstructed view to the left and right. The lack of a frame on the underside of the lens means that there should be no problems looking down. On the trail, I did not notice the frame above the brow but if you make a point of paying attention to it, then you will see it at the top of your vision. The increased frame height is a definite improvement moving any obstruction into your peripheral vision rather than centred in your gaze. The restyled vents go largely unnoticed.

 

Lens replacement uses a pressure click-in system rather than the Switchlock system. So should you like to change lenses regularly, make sure you’re familiar with the unclipping mechanism before applying too much pressure in an incorrect manner.

 

Prizm Trail


Oakley’s Prizm lens technology seeks to pair a lens to a specific sport. For cycling, this means one lens optimised for staring at the tarmac and another for the mountain and trails. My Radar EV features the Prizm Trail lens, which, as the name suggests, is the mountain biking oriented lens.

 

The Prizm Trail lens aims to boost contrast, bringing out the browns and reds and assisting your eyes in identifying trails obstacles. I’m happy to say that it’s not just another marketing gimmick. The Prizm effect is immediately noticeable, with even the smallest stone in the trail becoming much more apparent.

 

Oakley Radar EV-2.jpg

 

The only shortfall of the Prizm Trail is extreme light conditions. It does well in lightly shaded trails but anything darker requires a bit more straining of the eyes and guess work. Likewise, in super bright exposed conditions, like Cape Town in summer, I did find myself wanting a bit more light filtering. That said, the Prizm Trail lens has a wide range and for the vast majority of my riding, it performed superbly.

 

In the end


The Oakley Radar EV improves on an already successful formula. They are durable, comfortable, and well ventilated with the extended vision providing real benefits. The Prizm Trail lens enhances the trail experience while the overall styling will suit most tastes.

 




2 Comments

Cylon, Jul 07 2017 10:38

I love the Prizm Road lens but am not a big fan of the Prizm Trail lens because they are compromised as stated in the review. I personally don't think that there is a "do it all" lens for MTB so I own a pair of Oakleys with the photochromatic lens which are perfect for most trail riding conditions and I also have a pair with the Prizm Daily Polarized lens which are great for Summer and riding in the open.

RaymondC, Jul 07 2017 02:02

Best do it all lens. From night crits to road races.